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2007 Festival - Fèis 2007



blas blas blas

Sunday morning. I'm sure many people across the island will be marvelling at what a change of underwear can do for a person.

I thought "Blas" was one of the best things I saw at the festival. Six singers - Anna Murray, Alyth McCormack, Fiona MacKenzie, Mary Smith, Christine Primrose and Kathleen MacInnes. A great sound, lovely harmonies, and unadorned musicianship - coming from a deep well. I like it. And it made me proud to hear Gaelic songs being sung like this on such a big stage. And! So many Lewis singers! Aren't we great! Don't we get about!

I was in Germany a while ago, a tiny town somewhere, and a woman in a book shop said, yes, she knew Scotland. Her uncle was Scottish, a soldier during the war who had married her auntie, and then they moved to Aberdeen. She paused and then in a certain tone said... "he was from Stornoway." As if... of course, where else would he be from.

oojami oojami oojami

I liked Oojami a lot. A whirling dervish! In the castle grounds! I suspect, however, that it isn't the first time that spinning feeling has been felt in the grounds. And a belly dancer! And a wee man from London who gyrated a little bit too much to make me feel comfortable, shouting about how he was going to tell his friends in London about what we were like in Stornoway, so we'd better buck up and start dancing, or else... He was very serious about it.

A cove bounced up to me during their gig, he'd been writing on his face in biro and his eyes were the size of tractor wheels. "Are you a Proclaimer!?" he shouted at me. Actually, it sounded like "Rr ewe a Prwclaymer!" shouted at full volume in that drunken Stornoway cove thousand yard stare kind of a way. Yes I said. Now, bugger off. No! I said, I'm sorry fellow, I'm not. They aren't the only people who wear glasses, I pointed out. However, I can furnish you with some twin anecdotes if you like... but by then he had gone to pastures new.

Please stop phoning the office with stupid questions. Think before you dial. No, there is not a ferry from the office to the venue. There is a bridge. Or you can wear wellies and walk. And don't go up to the fish and chip van and ask "do you do fish?". And no, the tickets do not get cheaper the closer it gets to the gig. It has got to the stage where there is a book being run for the most stupid question. Do you want your name to be in it? I am currently in the lead with "can I take an ostrich into the tent with me," but! surely you don't want to be associated with it. So book in time next year and behave yourselves, and if you have any questions keep them to yourself. (This is my view entirely and is not to be held as blah blah blah.)

peatbogs crowd peatbogs

A whirling dervish! I fell over myself at one stage just watching him.

The Peatbog Faeries did what it said on that particular tin, and got the place jumping. My critic wasn't there and so I can't tell you what Norman thought of it.

I went out on the Monday on the yacht 58 degrees north, and that certainly blew the cobwebs away, I tell you. Highly recommended after a festival week for some well needed recalibration.

And so! I turn my eyes towards next year, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable week, cracking music, a good feeling. I can't wait till the next one.